Survey: 45% of Ukrainian firms have no plans to move; 17% will go to Western Ukraine in case of Moscow war

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According to Ihor Sbitnev, the Head of the European Business Association’s chapter in Kharkiv, just 20 miles from Russia, Moscow’s military build-up has complicated the process of raising capital and developing business.
photo: softelegance’s blog

photo: softelegance’s blog

Ukraine’s European Business Association (EBA), with more than 900 foreign and domestic member companies across the country, has published the results of its Geopolitical Tensions Survey, asking 136 CEOs and representatives of member companies about their action plans in case of a Russian military invasion. Just under half of respondents plan to continue operating in the part of the country where they are located, even as many of them marked the safety of people as their main priority.

According to the survey, in case of an invasion, 45% of the companies will stay in Ukraine and continue working, 17% will relocate to Western Ukraine, 10% will leave the country, 7% will close their business. Most of the owners (67%) believe that the threat is real and say that Ukraine must stay alert, while some 25% believe that it’s a psychological attack through disinformation in the media. 

Ihor Sbitnev, the former Head of the EBA’s chapter, Ukraine’s second-biggest city, just 20 miles from Russia, says the rising risk of military invasion obviously affected business and the possibility of attracting financial resources. 

«All banks and financial institutions see increased risks in it, so they are either postponing the funding projects, especially if these are some significant sums, or demanding additional guarantees. So for instance, if we talk about mortgage, they want it to be located not in this area. It also complicates the process of raising the capital and, accordingly, the development of business,» he says.

Regarding a contingency plan, 40% of the companies said that they have one, another 40% are thinking of preparing it, and 15% don’t have one at all. Most of those with «plan B» stated the safety of staff their first priority, followed by the security of assets, documents and data, while ensuring the viability of the company and business continuity was stated the third priority. Possible actions in this regard include relocation, evacuation, emergency communication, and support.

The vast majority, namely 58% of companies plan to retain their team, while for 14% this is not even a question – they are not only retaining but also contining to hire and develop people. Only 14% say they will resort to laying off some employees or sending them on unpaid leave, and 4% think of reducing the salaries.

The survey was conducted 24-27 January 2022 among 136 CEOs and representatives of EBA member companies, both Ukrainian and foreign ones.

«Now, more than ever, it is worth keeping calm and continuing to do our job – investing, developing projects and people, holding meetings, producing goods. In fact, we at the EBA see that this is exactly what the business is doing now. However, we cannot rule out hypothetical threats posed by activities at the borders. So, let’s be prepared with «Plan B, C or D» – and hope that we will never need them,» Anna Derevyanko, the EBA’s executive director stated in the survey press release. 

By Vitalii Holich

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